believed their troops would make a difference and quickly bring the war to an end. John J. Pershing ✦ 1915 November 1917 Communists seize power in Russia March 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ends war between Russia and Germany September 1918 Beginning of Battle of the Argonne Forest November 1918 Armistice ends war Main Idea After four years of fighting, the war in Europe ended in November 1918. Key Terms and Names “no man’s land,” convoy, Vladimir Lenin, Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, armistice, Fourteen Points, League of Nations, Treaty of Versailles, reparations Reading Strategy Organizing As you read about the battles of World War I, complete a graphic organizer similar to the one below by listing the kinds of warfare and technology used in the fighting. Reading Objectives • Discuss the fighting techniques used in World War I. • Characterize the American response to the Treaty of Versailles. Section Theme Individual Action American troops played a major role in helping end the war, while President Wilson played a major role in the peace negotiations. Warfare and Technology Used in World War I
Trench Warfare The early offensives of 1914 quickly demonstrated that the nature of warfare had changed. Troops that dug themselves in and relied upon modern rifles and a new weapon—the rapid- fire machine gun—could easily hold off the attacking forces. On the Western Front, troops dug a network of trenches that stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border. The space between the opposing trenches was known as “no man’s land,” a rough, barren landscape pockmarked with craters from artillery fire. To break through enemy lines, both sides began with massive artillery barrages. Then bayonet- wielding soldiers would scramble out of their trenches, race across no man’s land, and hurl grenades into the enemy’s trenches. The results were often disastrous. The artillery barrages rarely destroyed the enemy defenses, and troops crossing no man’s land were easily stopped by enemy machine guns and rifle fire. These kind of assaults caused staggeringly high casualties. In major battles, both sides often lost several hundred thousand men. These battles produced horrific scenes of death and destruction, as one American soldier noted in his diary: “ Many dead Germans along the road. One heap on a manure pile . . . Devastation everywhere. Our barrage has rooted up the entire territory like a ploughed field. Dead horses galore, many of them have a hind quarter cut off—the Huns [Germans] need food. Dead men here and there. ” —quoted in The American Spirit New Technology As it became clear that charging enemy trenches could bring only limited success at great cost, both sides began to develop new technolo- gies to help them break through enemy lines. In April 1915, the Germans first used poison gas in the Second Battle of Ypres. The fumes caused vomiting, blindness, and suffocation. Soon afterward the Allies also began using poison gas, and gas masks became a necessary part of a soldier’s equipment. In 1916 the British introduced the tank into battle.
- Fall '16
- Robert Hassell
- World War I